Tackling parasitic diseases in Europe’s farmed fish

European researchers tackle parasitic diseases in Europe’s farmed fish
European researchers tackle parasitic diseases in Europe’s farmed fish

A European Union funded research project is addressing the challenges of disease prevention and management to protect the European aquaculture industry.

Parasitic diseases which affect fish species can significantly hamper aquaculture production and economic performance, ParaFishControl is trying to tackle this.

More than 70 researchers involved in ParaFishControl, from 13 European countries as well as Canada, came together in Copenhagen to discuss their latest research findings and to map out their future research strategies.

Dr Ariadna Sitjà-Bobadill, project coordinator from Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spani, said: “This has been an exciting time for ParaFishControl! The project is only in its initial stages, but we have already made significant progress and published 11 scientific papers.”

“The ParaFishControlpublished research includes: the effects of nematode worms on fish and consumer health, the role of fungal communities as suppressors of other fungi, and the decrease in intensity of infection of a gill parasite of gilthead sea bream after feeding infected fish with a mixture of compounds.”

Their task was to improve understanding of fish-parasite interactions and to develop respective management tools.

For example: diagnostic tests, vaccines, risk maps, and best practice handbooks and management manuals for the prevention, control and mitigation of the most harmful parasitic species affecting key European

Dr Sitjà-Bobadill added: “Another partner, the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), has been working on turbot scuticociliatosis, a disease caused by protozoans, which has been recognized as an emerging problem, inflicting significant economic loss in the global aquaculture industry, by affecting different fish species.”

“Researchers at USC have discovered that the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and artemisinin as well as the chemical substance curcumin which is produced by some plants inhibit some enzymes of this parasite. These findings highlight potential for treating this disease in aquaculture.”

ParaFishControl has been running since April 2015 and will continue until 2020. In that time, it will aim to carry out a variety of activities to ensure the research findings are shared with a variety of stakeholders such as scientists working in academia or industry, fish farmers/growers, fish health professionals, agricultural advisors, breeders, consumers and policy makers.

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